Haw Branch Plantation, Amelia, Virginia
Moving to the plantation in 1964, Cary and Gibson McConnaughey received a house warming gift from a relative. The gift was a painting, dating back to the 17th century, of a distant relative named Florence Wright. Even though the painting suffered from age, the colors were faded and there were a few small tears in the canvas, the McConnaughey's hung the painting prominently in the library.
Over time the McConnaughey's would hear strange noises from the library. Distinct female voices could be heard holding conversations. However, when the McConnaughey's would enter the room the voices would suddenly go quiet.
Most strange was that over time the painting's colors slowly restored and the tears in the canvas mended themselves.
Doing a little investigating, the McConnaughey's discovered that Florence Wright died shortly before the painting was finished. It is believed that Florence now follows her painting and its colors brighten the more content she becomes.
The arrival of Florence's painting seemed to open a door to the spirit world. Shortly after the painting had fully restored itself the McConnaughey's were plagued by blood curdling screams during the night. They would also see an apparition of a young woman dressed in period clothing with a panicked look on her face.
Doing a little investigating, the McConnaughey's discovered that the daughter of the original owner died at the plantation. It is believed that the apparition is her ghost.
In addition to the girl's ghost, the ghost of a caretaker haunts the land around the manor house. It is common to see the ghost of the caretaker walking the land holding a lantern.
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I'm so interested in this story and by luck I'm doing a research paper on this for my college writing class and after reading this info on the plantation, it helped me on my research thanx. P.S. your website is very well made, creepy and interesting. Keep the stories coming.
I believe some of this information to be incorrect. The screams and the lady in white were seen before the painting was given, The McConnaugheys moved into the house August 1965 and with in 3 months the screams began...The came in 6 month intervals, Always on Nov. 23 and May 23....They eventually came to expect them. Within 3 cycles the screams stopped, but other odd things always happened on those days...
Mrs. McConnaughey first saw the woman in white in the summer 1967, Several days later her daughter saw her as well.
I have never heard the caretaker story but I cannot disprove it either...
As far as the painting...
It was given as a gift after being stored for 20 years...When it was removed from its wrappings it was found to be charcoal not pastel at all....Slowly after its hanging at Haw Branch the paintings color returned beginning with the not fully bloomed rose....
There is a closed chamber in the English basement that is 6 feet by 4 feet...It is completely closed off by bricks and has been for as long as anyone can remember...No one has any idea why or what is inside...
My Mother was born in the plantation house in 1910. My great grandfather Robert Zastrow had bought the property prior to that and farmed it with the help of relatives. He was from Wisconsin and had been in the Civil War and was, I believe, about retired. She said there were no strange events there when she was a little girl there except grandfather Zastrow feeling something late at night brushing his leg or arm as he read in his easy chair, like a dog (but he didn't have a dog or cat). The only thing that scared her one time was a coffin on the landing when a relative died and they had it there for viewing. I visited the house in the 1970's and Mrs. McConnoughy showed me around. I tried to get old photos from my aunt Lillian McDermott but she wouldn't cooperate (some sort of hard feelings toward the poor press about Zastrow's time there - about 1900+ to 1918). All I have is an old photo of Zastrow on a horse in front of the house circa 1910 or so. I have a copy of the journal kept and it is very interesting. She said the events stopped and she did not belive in ghosts but just had to record the strange events. I had noticed a periodicity to some of the events i.e. occuring on certain dates each year.
Must be a local thing. We have the old Hubbard Dairy farmhouse (Archer), and have some of the same issues. I hate it when the lights come on for no reason.
I am related to the McConnaugheys thru my maternal grandmother. I visited Haw Branch in 1978. I was 14. The story of the haunting of Haw Branch had recenlty appreared in Southern Living magazine and naturally my grandmother had a copy of the issue so i was familar with the story when I arrived. The version I was told by Cary is consistent with Mellissa's version. Other fantastic stories too. Cary relayed seeing lantern lights that would weave among the slave cabins after the sun set. Once the family saw a giant raven (perhaps 8 feet tall!) in front yard from the upstairs windows. Gib went out into the yard to investigate. The family upstairs could still the apparation, but Gib could not, even when they directed him to it. The smell of cut flowers would often manifest in the library which served as the family den. I was and remain fascinated. I am also curious that some of you may have lived there somewhat proximally in time to Gib and Cary. I was told, or at least I remember, that they told us that when they bought the house it was almost a ruin, having been empty for decades. Perhaps my memory has changed the story. Also, when we visited Haw Branch it was very remote from anything. We literally followed a dirt road for at least a mile once off the beaten track. I remember seeing a handed painted wooden sign directing us to Haw Branch. Some of you seem to either live close by or know people who do. Has the are become developed?
I believe 95% of this but it is missing a lot of info for starters there is a blood stain in the upstairs hallway that no matter how many time s it has been painted over, also the fact that at night during the fall you can hear chain rattles coming from the old slave quarters behind the house. The reason I know this is because my grandparents live back off the road that the plantation is on and I have been given a tour of the house by the current owner.